Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toddler dies years after being assaulted by dad, who was a "caretaker" with a criminal history of assault (St. Louis, Missouri)

Generally, fathers with a history of criminal assault are not great candidates for child caregivers.

We desperately need other options so mothers can stay in school.

Dad is identified as RUFUS LITTLE.

Toddler dies years after he was violently shaken by father at St. Louis home

August 21, 2015 2:15 am • By Joel Currier

ST. LOUIS • A young boy severely abused as an infant by his father several years ago has died of his injuries, authorities said.

Karon J. Little, who was 3 months old in December 2011 when he was vigorously shaken in his home, died about 9 a.m. Tuesday at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Police have said the boy’s father, Rufus Little, shook Karon while caring for him Dec. 15, 2011, at the family’s home in the 4400 block of St. Louis Avenue.

Paramedics were sent to the home about 7:20 p.m. that day and found Karon without a pulse and not breathing, court records say. Two other children, who were 2 and 5 years old at the time, were also under Little’s care.

Little told police that he had been watching the three children at the home while his wife, who was Karon’s mother, was at school. Little told police that when he grew frustrated with the two older children, Karon began crying, and he picked up Karon and shook him “violently” until he stopped.

Little told police he then put Karon in his crib, checked on him an hour later and found him unresponsive. Karon suffered severe brain injuries and was reported in critical condition.

Little was charged that month with first-degree assault and abuse of a child.

After a five-day trial that ended Nov. 1, 2013, a jury found the boy’s father guilty of second-degree assault and child abuse. In January 2014, Little was sentenced to seven years in prison. Little, now 52, is serving that sentence at the Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City.

Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, said prosecutors are reviewing the case “and exploring what legal options we have.”

The child had been in state custody since the abuse, but it was not clear where he received medical care, authorities said.

Little’s appeal on the assault and abuse convictions is pending, court records say. His public defender, Amy Lowe, declined to comment Thursday until she could get permission from Little.

Court records say that in addition to child abuse, Little’s criminal history includes drug and assault convictions in Virginia.